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Hockey heroes help inspire local schoolgirls into sport as part of TeamUp festival

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 May 2018

Helen Richardson-Walsh looks on as youngsters try hockey at Beckton

Helen Richardson-Walsh looks on as youngsters try hockey at Beckton

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Over 100 local schoolgirls took part in a special festival of sport at the West Ham Foundation Ground in Beckton, organised by Curwen Primary School PE teacher and TeamUp Ambassador Carly Tully.

Helen Richardson-Walsh and Emily Defroand with local youngsters at BecktonHelen Richardson-Walsh and Emily Defroand with local youngsters at Beckton

The girls were joined by Olympic hockey gold medalist Helen Richardson-Walsh, part of the triumphant Great Britain team at Rio 2016, and Emily Defroand, who won bronze with England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The pair helped coach the hockey session, inspire the girls, provide tips and sign autographs and take photos, and Defroand said: “What a brilliant event. It was fantastic to see hundreds of young girls braving the rain to pick up a stick, ball and bat – some for the very first time.

“We hope they enjoyed their experience and the taster sessions sparked a long-term interest in one of the three TeamUp sports.

“All the kids involved were from East London, so we really hope they’ll continue to engage with hockey ahead of the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre this summer.”

Helen Richardson-Walsh signs autographsHelen Richardson-Walsh signs autographs

The festival of sport, supported by The Tapscott Learning Trust, gave the girls a chance to play each of the TeamUp sports – hockey, cricket and netball – as well as tennis.

Each station gave the girls a non-competitive taster of each sport, to encourage participation in a fun, relaxed environment and introduce them to a sport they might not have played before.

The idea behind the TeamUp Girls Primary School Festival stemmed from Tully’s desire to get more girls participating in sport at a primary school level.

It was this passion for providing opportunities to young girls that saw Tully named as a TeamUp Ambassador in November 2017.

TeamUp is a joint initiative launched in 2016 by the England & Wales Cricket Board, England Hockey and England Netball.

Its goal is to maximise the legacy of three consecutive home women’s World Cups between 2017-2019 and ensure thousands of seven to 13-year-old girls across the country get the chance to play team sports.

In May 2017 Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST) committed over £650,000 to extend the initiative within the London boroughs and provide local delivery support for London schools and additional opportunities for girls in sport.

For more information about TeamUp and how London schools can apply for support, visit teamupengland.com.

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